Getting It So Wrong About Hugh Carey
From: Azi Paybarah
Re: Carey & Schumer ---so fucking wrong?
By the way, great headline on this email. "So fucking wrong."
You, skurnik and bill cunningham could launch a website with that name, correcting political stories.
As if we needed any more hints, the death of Former Governor Hugh Carey is timely reminder that "The Days of Wine and Roses" have given way to "The Days of Whining and Ruses.
This morning, City Hall News lamented the lack of monuments commmorating The former Governor. I suspect that there are so few physical embodiments of Carey’s legacy because, in his day, he would have slashed them from the budget.
But the press has surely made up for this by commemorating Carey’s reign of terror upon budgetary profligacy (I won’t call it waste, because many of the things which fell victim to Carey’s axe, including free tuition at CUNY, were surely of great public value, even if they were not affordable), with a reign of error in reporting about his life.
Some of this is relatively minor, Colin at
Contrary to Markowitz, while Hugh Carey lived in Park Slope as an adult, he was a native of the part of Flatbush where the Jews and Irish lived parallel lives which barely intersected (as in the famous Stiller and Meara routine about Hershey Horowitz and Mary Elizabeth Doyle).
In fact, according to the late GOP district leader, Kevin Breslin, Carey spent his childhood years beating up Stanley Steingut, later to be his Assembly Speaker (although to be fair, reliable sources tell me Steingut was also regularly beaten up by his fellow Jewish schoolmates).
There seems a determination effort by practically everyone to ignore Carey's legacy as a social liberal, whether it was reproductive chocie (something he repudiated to some measure in his later years) or his six courageous vetos of the death penalty.
When the sponsor, State Senator Dale Volker, responded that without the death penalty there would be no Christianity, Carey responded that it was not the death of Jesus, but the resurection which was responsible for Christianity, and that if Volker could incorporate ressurection into the bill, Carey would sign it.
But especially glaring are some major and avoidable erros of fact.
Yesterday both Azi and Gary Tilzer printed that Chuck Schumer was elected to Carey’s Congressional seat after Carey was elected Governor, an error they seem to have picked up from The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
In actuality, Carey was elected Governor in 1974. Leo Zefferetti won Carey’s seat in Congress.
That same year, Assemblyman Steve Solarz beat indicted incumbent Bertram Podell in a Congressional primary and Schumer took Solarz’s seat in the Assembly
In 1980, Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman ran for US Senate and Schumer took her seat in Congress.
To his credit Azi did try to correct his initial error, but even there he faltered.
Azi Cites the 1982 reapportionment as chopping up Zefferetti’s district, leaving him a choice between running against Schumer or Guy Molinari, and choosing Molinari.
In actuality that was never the choice.
Zeff, a close friend of County Boss Meade Esposito, was initially supposed to be saved, with Steve Solarz sent to the chopping block.
Schumer was a protégé of Tony Genovesi, who was not only the District Leader for Assembly Speaker Stanley Fink, but ran the assembly’s day to day operations for him.
By contrast, Solarz was decidedly unpopular with his former Albany colleagues.
What Solarz had going for him was his ability to raise money. Schumer had a similar ability. Leo Z far less so.
Solarz was called to Meade’s office to be told he was a bight young man, with a bright future, but that that future would no longer encompass being a member of Congress.
Solarz responded by showing Esposito his campaign committee bankbook.
"Well," said Esposito, "I guess Leo is fucked."
Schumer’s new district contained very little of Zefferetti’s old one, and what little it contained were mostly areas either predominantly Jewish, or socially liberal, which Zefferetti was not.
Far more of Zefferetti’s old turf was in Solarz’s new seat, but even there the numbers were against him.
So, Azi to the contrary, there is almost no plausible explanation to the "Democrat and Chronicle" story.
But even worse was the obituary of Carey in The New York Times.
Says the Times:
"In 1969, he ran for mayor of New York as an independent, angering Democratic Party leaders and prompting predictions of his political demise."
Carey never ran for Mayor as an independent in 1969
He did initially undertake an abortive run for mayor in the Democratic primary, with running mates Councilman Robert Low of Manhattan for Council President (who had dropped out of the Mayoral race to be Carey's running mate), and Court Street lawyer Mario Cuomo of Queens for Comptroller,
Then, former Mayor Robert Wagner joined the race, with a lot (but not all ) of the clubhouses behind him
Carey dropped out and joined Wagner's ticket as the candidate for Council President, on a ticket which also included State Senator Seymour Thaler of Queens for Comptroller--Low stayed in the Council President race without a ticket and opposed Carey. Cuomo dropped out of the Comptroller race.
Carey placed a close second to the interim incumbent Francis Xavier Smith --Low ran a close third; other losers in the race included Jimmy Breslin (running on the slate of Mayoral candidate Norman Mailer) and Assemblyman Charlie Rangel.
(It was almost always better to lose a race for Council President than to win one--the runner up in the 65 primary was Pat Moynihan).
The Democratic Mayoral primary had been won by the race’s only right winger, Mario Proccacino, taking advantage of a four way split between candidates of the center-left and left.
With the Democratic and GOP (John Marchi, scoring a stunning upset of incumbent John Lindsay) candidates both right wingers and both Italians, Carey did contemplate an independent Mayoral run for about three minutes, but it soon became clear that liberals would instead rally around Lindsay, running on the Liberal line.
So Carey's independent race went no further than the musing stage
Azi ‘s assertion that by “Independent,” The Times meant that Carey ran as a Democrat, but not with support from any notable part of the Democratic establishment, makes no sense.
Carey did not run as an "Independent" for Mayor in the 1969 Primary. In the end, Carey did not run for Mayor at all.
Instead, he ran as the candidate of the Manhattan and Brooklyn organizations for Council President.
Since even Carey's momentary flirtation with this run is little remembered, I don't know how the Times made such an outrageous error
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